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Cherwell District Council, based in Bodicote, Oxfordshire, is more aware than most of the need to invest funds and budgets in the most effective way possible.  Constantly looking for ways in which to save money, they came to Hardcat with their IT fixed asset tracking requirements.

Before Hardcat

Before Hardcat was introduced, the Council relied solely on their staff to keep an ongoing record of all IT assets within their offices.  This was a time consuming task and one which did not have set guidelines outlining how the items should be recorded. This left the system open to error and inaccuracies.   Having examined and researched a number of options, the Head of Internal Audit was asked to find a suitable Asset Management System for the Council.  After much research, Hardcat was found to be the most cost effective package to suit all necessary requirements of the Council.

After the Implementation of Hardcat

With Hardcat fully installed, extra resources were taken on to maintain the asset inventory as this practice had not been addressed before.   Initially, this extra resource was seen as an added expense but this soon paid for itself by way of revenue being saved by the comprehensive tracking of all Council IT assets by Hardcat. 

The Council now carry out an on-going audit on a weekly basis with a planned two full audits of all Council properties being anticipated to occur every year.  

The Benefits

The benefits of Hardcat are still becoming apparent months after the initial implementation. David Warrack, Head of Internal Audit at Cherwell District Council commented "if implemented across the organisation's assets, the potential for savings from undetected losses should be quite substantial."  

David continued by saying "The main benefit of using Hardcat to record and track IT equipment has been in enforcing accountability, accurately recording and valuing what the Council actually has, and assisting in monitoring the accuracy of IT asset data maintained by the Council's Facilities Management contractor."   Once the relevant staffing and costing implications have been looked into, Hardcat may eventually be used to track other assets within the Council.

Hardcat's reporting function is now being used by various departments, within the Council offices.   Section Heads use the reporting facility to track the IT equipment that they are responsible for and Accountancy and Internal Audit staff use the reports for costing and audit purposes.

Conclusion

With Hardcat now installed, Cherwell District Council is now confident that it has full control over its entire collection of IT equipment.  Reports are precise and every piece of equipment is accounted for.  David Warrack, commented "There is no doubt that the installation of Hardcat has, and will continue to, keep an accurate record of all assets entered onto the system.  Hardcat will also help the Council save money which can then be put to good use elsewhere within the organisation".

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Administration

The Administration Module is used to manage users and system configuration. Users are assigned a role and a cost centre. The role defines which modules of the system are available and what the user may do within them. The system allows these roles to be constructed. Examples of role types are:-

•  Administrator
•  Requisitioner
•  Approver
•  Budget Manager
•  Purchase Clerk
•  Goods Inward Clerk
•  Accounts Clerk

Cost Centres allow users to be grouped and managers to be assigned to be responsible for them. In this way, a hierarchy can be established which controls the access to information on the system. For example, a Manager may be set up as being in charge of a Cost Centre and able to see all requisitions raised within the Cost Centre.

The reporting module is accessed from within the other modules and provides the user with reports appropriate to their status. A number of standard reports are provided with the system but users may add their own, using a report generator such as Seagate Crystal Reports.

The Help Module is accessed from within the other modules and provides the user with help appropriate to their current position on the system.

Budgets

The Budget Module uses a flexible company and cost centre structure allowing budgets to be set up for financial years and financial periods.

The system is multi-currency and allows budgets to be viewed in the local currency, the standard currency for a Group of companies or in Euros.

For each budget period, the system keeps account of the budgeted amount, the amount outstanding on requisitions and the amount invoiced. Managers can view and allocate budgets as part of the Purchase Requisition Workflow process.

System security prevents a user from viewing data outside their Company and/or Cost Centre.

Benefits of this feature include:-

•  Flexible, powerful cost centre structure can handle budgets by Project and/or Department and/or period;
•  Up to date information ensure that Managers do not exceed budgets;
•  Cost Centre structure ensures that spend in properly allocated.



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